PONDER — Following Game 3 of Ponder’s Class 2A Region II area baseball series against Pottsboro, head coach Mark Low leaned over the railing and looked into the dugout as his team looked back at him.
The team chided their head coach when it appeared he might shed a couple tears as he spoke to the senior-laden team.
Ponder did what it could to extend their season early Saturday afternoon, but the Lions couldn’t complete the comeback in the series and lost to Pottsboro 12-4 in Game 3 of the series at Ponder.
The loss eliminates the Lions from the playoffs. Pottsboro advances to face either Brock or Gunter.
The Cardinals plated five runs in the first inning of Game 3 that enabled them to jump ahead early and roll to the victory.
“Anytime you give up a five-spot in the first inning, you better get something back pretty quick. It’s tough to keep playing from behind like that, especially in Game 3,” Low said. “Game 3 is usually going to be to be a little bit higher scoring, so you gotta keep up, and we didn’t keep up today.”
Pottsboro (25-5) scored more runs in the first inning of Game 3 than it did in all of Game 2. Ponder’s Micah Broadstreet stymied Pottsboro’s bat in the 4-0 win that extended Ponder’s season for at least another seven innings.
But once Game 3 started, the Cardinals jumped on Ponder’s Josh Peterson early and tagged him.
Pottsboro head coach Bart Williams said in the first two games of the series, his team was hitting the ball well but directly at Ponder’s fielders. Williams said the five-run first inning set the tone for the rest of the game.
“I think that first inning right there was big,” Williams said. “We waited on pitches. We were selective. It’s what we should have been doing the whole three games.”
Peterson recorded two outs in the first inning before Ethan Easterling came on in relief. Easterling pitched three innings before Reid Sanders closed out the game. Ponder (17-14) committed five errors in the final game of the series.
After the Lions trimmed the deficit to four by scoring two in the bottom of the third, Pottsboro scored five more runs in the fourth inning to go ahead 11-2.
The Lions were able to score two more runs in the bottom half of the fourth but couldn’t muster anything else for the rest of the game.
Keaton Malcom led Ponder at the plate by going 3-for-3 and driving in two of Ponder’s runs. Sanders went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
After Low talked to his team, the players quickly followed out of the dugout after the loss.
Low said his team didn’t hit well enough in the series to pick up the win against the District 11-2A champions.
“It was weird,” Low said. “We got a lot of hits in this series, but it seemed like we couldn’t get the hit when we needed it. It wasn’t just one person, it was up and down the lineup. Sometimes it just rolls like that. It was the complete opposite of the last series.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.
Game 2: Ponder 4, Pottsboro 0
WP — Micah Broadstreet (1-1). LP — Tyler Tuck (5-1). 2B — PON: Austin Leveridge.
Game 3: Pottsboro 12, Ponder 4
WP — Dylan Smith (3-0). LP — Josh Peterson (5-1). 2B — POT: Patton Lyons, Tanner Frye.